DALLAS - It was the hug seen around the country, when Botham Jean's brother forgave the former Dallas police officer convicted of Botham’s murder.
Minutes after Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the mistaken apartment shooting of an innocent man, Brandt Jean openly forgave her.
He told her he loved her and wanted her to follow Christ because he said that's what Botham would have wanted.
His words and the hug were seen by millions on social media.
Jean’s actions are being used as a lesson for local churches on the power of forgiveness.
“In a crowded, emotionally-charged court room, this 18-year-old young man displayed Christ-like behavior by forgiving Amber Guyger and hugging her,” Dr. Sheron Patterson said during her sermon Sunday.
Jean’s actions have been dissed, dismissed, praised, and heralded as a Christ-like example of forgiveness.
Dr. Patterson, Senior Pastor at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, added her own interpretation in her Sunday sermon.
“I say, what the world was witnessing is what I call, "black forgiveness," Dr. Patterson said during her sermon.
“Black forgiveness is what African Americans do,” she explained. “Most of us have learned over our time in America that a bible-based coping mechanism for systemic racism is to forgive. We're following the words of Jesus who said, ‘forgive your enemies.’”
“Black forgiveness is not better than white forgiveness, but the difference in the two is the difference of the two races experience in America,” Dr. Patterson added. “And white Americans have not had to go through the slavery, the Jim and Jane Crow and all that we have, so we have had to forgive over, and over, and over again.”
In contrast to Brandt Jean's embrace were protesters outside the courtroom, who erupted in anger just moments after Guyger’s 10-year sentence was announced.
The maximum sentence was 99 years.
“This ain't the last time it's going to happen. It ain't the last time,” protesters said at the time.
“I understand their anger. Anger is normal. It's expected. Everybody has to have an emotion. I get angry sometimes, but understand my anger comes, but the forgiveness enables me not to be as angry,” Dr. Patterson said. “So you can protest calmly or angrily, and for me, after I've forgiven, I can still get out there on the picket line.”
Patterson is teaching black forgiveness through the behavior of Brandt Jean, and calling on her congregation to "stay woke" since the Friday night murder in Dallas of a key witness in Guyger’s murder trial, Botham neighbor, Joshua Brown.
“And so here we go again. Stay woke,” Dr. Patterson said.